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Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Chicago White Sox - Halfway

The Lonesome Death of Mascot Jordy Verrill
The Lonesome Death of Mascot Jordy Verrill

Today marks the final day of the first half of the 2012 baseball season for the Texas Rangers. No, it's not the final game before the All-Star break but tonight is game 81. When the Rangers play 81 more of these things afterward, that will add up to the 162 games that make up an entire season.

But forget about baseball. All those flowery words and long-winded prose on the fleeting moments from a first half traveling only in step with the dizzying speed of our lives. Less about four home run games and best records in the game. More animated Graphics Interchange Format images! That's what we're in it for, right? The sweet, sweet .gifs!

After the jump I will give my top 15 favorite .gifs from the first half of this baseball season. .gifs and lists! You're in for a treat. Ha ha! Good luck, your computers.

Tuesday, July 03 7:10: LHP Chris Sale vs. RHP Roy Oswalt

Wednesday, July 04 6:10: RHP Dylan Axelrod vs. RHP Scott Feldman

Thursday, July 05 1:10: LHP Jose Quintana vs. LHP Matt Harrison

Stufree_medium What happens at Tailgate doesn't always stay at Tailgate.

Knoxhulkpound_medium Animated proof that I once touched Jim Knox.

No13_medium The god, the movement.

Knoxcitement_medium I still can't believe so many people were excited for a game against the Seattle Mariners.

Perezroll_medium Having been trucked by Prince Fielder, Martin Perez has already gone through the most harrowing experience he will ever face as a big leaguer.

Puppetwash_medium And here you thought I'd allow you to forget Puppet Wash.

Nathandad_medium Joe Nathan making me wish I had a father to impress.

Keeperloop_medium No, it's not "The Fish" Busby. It was never "The Fish." Stop being so old.

Bautista_medium Remember that time Jose Bautista turned into an Eastern European villain in a cheap '80s action/revenge movie?

Milkinbobross_medium I'm pretty sure Robbie Ross would kill a man if Joe Nathan or Mike Adams told him to. And he'd do it in the hat and vest. With a smile. And it'd be adorable.

Ianandmitch_medium Is it still "White People." if it's a parody of white people being white people?

Elvistroll2_medium Some nights these two are the only reason to tune in.

Ianthumbs_medium Look! Ian Kinsler approves of you and your job performance, baseball umpires!

Hunter_medium When I look back on the 2012 season at some point in my life, this will be the three seconds that I remember most brightly.

Texas_medium So, the second half is going to have its work cut out for it if it's going to top this marvel.

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups for this series against the South Side Pale Hose:

  • Roy Oswalt: 2-0, 8.53 K/9, 2.13 BB/9, .500 BABIP, 76.0% LOB, 1.87 FIP, 2.90 xFIP, 0.6 WAR - Only two starts: 6 runs allowed in 12.2 innings
  • Chris Sale: 9-2, 8.87 K/9, 2.27 BB/9, .256 BABIP, 79.3% LOB, 2.58 FIP, 3.24 xFIP, 3.2 WAR - Last three starts: 7 runs allowed in 20.2 innings

Advantage: Chris Sale having a pretty decent claim to being the American League's best starter in the first half over Roy Oswalt's BABIP regression will be helpful.

  • Scott Feldman: 2-6, 6.70 K/9, 2.87 BB/9, .312 BABIP, 54.3% LOB, 4.74 FIP, 4.41 xFIP, 0.4 WAR - Last three starts: 10 runs allowed in 16.0 innings
  • Dylan Axelrod: 0-1, 5.85 K/9, 2.70 BB/9, .277 BABIP, 77.5% LOB, 5.05 FIP, 5.06 xFIP, 0.1 WAR - Last three starts: 9 runs allowed in 16.2 innings

Advantage: Scott Feldman is still pretty unlucky while being not very good over Dylan Axelrod has been sort of lucky to be only as bad as he has been.

  • Matt Harrison: 11-3, 5.55 K/9, 2.14 BB/9, .298 BABIP, 76.9% LOB, 3.42 FIP, 3.88 xFIP, 2.5 WAR - Only two starts: 3 runs allowed in 19.0 innings
  • Jose Quintana: 3-1, 5.29 K/9, 1.64 BB/9, .275 BABIP, 84.0% LOB, 3.22 FIP, 3.90 xFIP, 1.2 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 22.0 innings

Advantage: Matt Harrison in Earth Geeks Must Go! over Jose Quintana actually strikes out less hitters than Matt Harrison.


Chicago White Sox (42-37, 1st Place AL Central)

Rangers Record vs. Chicago: 2-1 (All at The Ballpark)

Chicago's Recent Results: 2-2 series tie against the New York Yankees

Chicago's Home Record: 19-21

U.S. Cellular Field Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 128/135 - wOBA: 103/103

SB Nation White Sox Blog: South Side Sox

Match-up: (as of 07/03) Rangers White Sox Advantage
Batting (RAR) 59.6 (1st) -4.6 (16th) Rangers
Base Running (RAR) -0.2 (16th) -0.8 (18th) Rangers
Starters (RAR) 31.8 39.7 White Sox
Bullpen (RAR) 37.2 (1st) 15.6 (15th) Rangers
Defense (UZR) 18.6 (5th) 0.2 (16th) Rangers
Overall (UZR + RAR) 147.0 50.1 Rangers

Questions to Answer:

  • What kind of odds would you give the White Sox on maintaining their division lead and holding off the Tigers and Indians?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (I've got a hunch that Ian Kinsler is going to hit well.)
  • Over/Under: 4.5 home runs hit in this series by the Rangers in the true launching pad of the American League?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Roy Oswalt in his third start as a Ranger tonight?
  • Given roster construction, which White Sox deserved to be selected to the All-Star Game more: A.J. Pierzynski or Jake Peavy?